In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health concerns, the Thirty-second Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe (ERC) is being convened virtually from 2 to 4 November 2020.
The plenary debate, ministerial roundtable, and all other meetings are webcast on www.fao.org/webcast.
The FAO Regional Conference for Europe is chaired by Uzbekistan for the first time. The delegates elected the Minister of Agriculture of Uzbekistan Jamshid Khodjaev as the Chairman of the thirty-second session of the ERC.
FAO hosts Regional Conference for Europe every two years, giving participants a great opportunity to discuss problems related to the main food security challenges in the region. The event was planned to be held on May 5-7, 2020 in Tashkent, however, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided to postpone it and conduct it in an exceptional manner in virtual mode.
“Thirty-second Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe is an important milestone to assess the progress, to analyze new challenges and opportunities and to identify priorities and prospects of cooperation. I am sure that at this event, the most important decisions will be made to effectively counteract threats and challenges to the regional food security in the medium and long term,” said Sherzod Umarov, Officer in Charge of the FAO Representation in Uzbekistan.
In the run-up to the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, the ERC will focus on sustainable food systems and healthy diets in Europe and Central Asia. The roundtable debate will review the status of nutrition and sustainable food systems, identifying the interlinkages and the related challenges and opportunities in the region.
Another key topic for discussion on the first day of the Conference is the youth, youth employment and the development of rural areas in the context of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming. The discussion will present a situation analysis of smallholders, family farms, and rural youth in agriculture, including a review of strategies that can revitalize rural areas in the Europe and Central Asia region.
“The 75th anniversary of FAO, which we just commemorated a few days ago, is a historic milestone that reinforces our commitment to ensuring access to nutritious food for everyone and eliminating hunger once and for all. The 32nd Session of FAO’s Regional Conference for Europe is a significant occasion to ensure that this commitment is translated into action. New ideas, strong partnerships and new ways of working towards our common goals of better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life,” QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, noted.
The three-day conference will focus on FAO’s future priorities in the region, which have been shaped by the COVID-19 crisis. Events on innovation and digitalization, as well as on the Committee on World Food Security will take place on the sidelines of the ERC. Additionally, the Synthesis of FAO Evaluations 2014–2019 in Europe and Central Asia and FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative will be presented.